On Sunday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visited a cenotaph dedicated to Korean victims of the 1945 Hiroshima atomic blast, becoming the first leaders of the two Asian neighbours to do so.
Kishida and Yoon strolled up to the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park with their spouses and put flowers in front of it, according to the local Kyodo news agency.
“I feel that (the visit) was very meaningful for bilateral ties and also in praying for world peace,” Kishida said following the visit, which was followed by a summit between the two leaders, during which they emphasised the significance of the event.
Yoon, for one, stated that the combined visit to pay condolences to Korean atomic bomb victims “will be remembered as a brave action from the prime minister to prepare a peaceful future together.”
During their meeting in Seoul, the two leaders decided to pay a combined visit to the memorial, indicating that bilateral ties are improving.
Relations between the two neighbours have improved significantly after South Korea unveiled a government-backed fund to pay former wartime labourers who had sued Japanese corporations.
Yoon visited with Korean atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima on Friday, becoming the first sitting South Korean president to do so, and pledged his support for them.
Victims of the US nuclear attack of South Korea in 1945 applauded the idea to pay a combined visit, thinking it will contribute to healing between the two countries. They also voiced wish for Japan to apologise for its colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, according to the news agency.
“I believe it means reconciliation (between Japan and South Korea).” “We appreciate that they understand even a small part of our anguish,” said Jeong Won Sul, head of the Korea Atomic Bombs Victim Association.